No, I'm not cabin-fevered out, nor a stark-raving mental lunatic. If you haven't caught it, the Knife gauge went live here finally. And while that is great news since it means the ice is finally going out of North Shore tribs, take a look at the latest flow - OY!
4000cfs is about 9X higher than the fishable flow range. What we need is a bit of a cool down to slow runoff from snowmelt. There's still a fair amount of snow up in the highlands yet, so if we get some moderated temps, it would reduce the mad runoff dash to the lake, and bring flow rates back down towards fishable ranges as opposed to the Class V whitewater we have now.
The other thing it will do is to help raise water temps. This might seem counter-intuitive, but even when stream temps are approaching that magic 40F mark, a big dump of snowmelt runoff tanks temps since it's dumping
cold water into the streams. This in turn slows down fishing even though the fish are there. Steelhead are creatures of metabolism after all.
Fortunately it looks like we might get just that: Daytime temps in the mid-forties with overnight temps below freezing for a few days. Look for flows to begin to drop and hold on!
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Holy cow, we are all beyond stir-crazy at this point. Reading about steelheading is a poor substitute when we all feel like fishing, but with Boreas doing his happy dance up in steelhead country, what's a steelheader to do? Time to get a little learnin' in by buggin' out - bad pun intended....
Kamloops are primarily bug-eaters and tend to spend a lot of time in the upper portion of the water-column over deep basins, or in shallow water areas while out in the big lake. Both steelhead and kamloops will gorge on loose spawn while in the streams, but there's another part of the equation you should not overlook; hence the term "Eggs and Legs".
Getting familiar with resident bugs is a good idea. Steelhead will key on them as a food-source, particularly when the water is either very cold - below 38-40F, and once again when stream temps hit 45 and up. In between they'll be dining on free-drifting eggs, but as female steelhead create their redds, they tend to kick up a lot of nymphs and pupa as they disturb the gravel and rock substrate; and all those fish hanging out below the spawning gravel have lots of choices on the menu.
So how do you know what to choose? One obvious method is to simply turn over softball-sized rocks or pull woody debris, look at what's crawling around, then make fly selections based on what you find. But short of being an entymologist, how do you know? Or if it's the dead of winter and you're poking around in the fly shop, or sitting at the tying bench, how do you make a choice? Fortunately the answer is just a click or two away.
If you're not aware, the MPCA maintains thousands of monitoring stations on water-bodies throughout the State. These stations assess everything from water-quality to biological data. Answering the bug question becomes pretty easy because the answers are right at your fingertips.
To get the data, you just need to know what to look for. First, navigate to the MPCA surface water station site. It's a multi-layer GIS style map-based page that allows you to quickly navigate to data and is found HERE
Once you're there, it's just a matter of zooming around the State map and finding a particular type of station. You can eliminate clutter by selecting the type of map-layers displayed using the Map Contents Layer Visibility feature. Just check Surface Water\Monitoring Stations\Aquatic Life Use Support-Streams. If you uncheck the others it'll reduce clutter even further.
Once you pan over to the North Shore, zoom in using the +/- on the nav bar. If you have a scrolling mouse you can use that to zoom in or out too. What you are looking for are the Brown Square symbols that represent a bio-station.
Once you're there, click on the brown square. This will call up the station info, click the bio-station ID to view data.
Now that you are in the station, simply click the "Aquatic Life" tab. This will bring up all of the species which were sampled during the latest period. Note that not all of the stations will tell you what kinds of bugs were found. It all depends on what was actually done during the last survey; but when there is a list, it is a great informations source.
From there you can look at a variety of streams in the area to determine the most common bugs available to the fish. Use that knowledge to help you determine which flies to buy, or which to tie. Note that if it's steelhead or kamloops you're after, key on the nymphs and pupa of the species listed as they will be what the fish are going to be feeding on most of the time.
The last item to note is that you DON'T have to be a fly-rod wielding junkie to fish flies effectively. You can catch steelhead and kamloops on flies with a variety of gear with a little know-how. Rather than re-create the wheel, you can read the companion blog on fishing flies HERE
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Hard to tell the source but it's a good bet that this is combined Nemadji, Lester and Knife activity with regards to the clay hurricane visible in the image.
Feels like steelheading will never happen at this point in a seemingly endless winter; but mother nature appears to be putting the hammer down despite Boreas's attempt at one last hurrah before retreating to the arctic.
Keep your fingers, and toes, and eyes, and boot-laces and whatever else you can find crossed...
Friday, April 12, 2013
The National Weather Service has extended the winter storm warning for Duluth, Superior, Cloquet and Two Harbors until 5 p.m. today. Snow is forecast to continue across the area today. While the intensity of the snow will diminish this afternoon in the Twin Ports, another 1 to 3 inches is expected from late morning through the afternoon. Winds will continue to gust to 40 mph out of the northeast, especially near Lake Superior.
Check out this link for more of the gory details: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/264015/
Check out this link for more of the gory details: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/264015/
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
• Floating spawn bag - as you’d float a worm
• Looper bugs (type of jig) - to use with wax worms beneath bobber
• If using a worm, hook worm through nose then through collar
While Steelhead will have no clipped fins, loopers will always display a clipped adipose (rear fin on back), and sometimes a pectoral clip (front fin). As of this article publication, all steelhead must be released. Check the current fishing regulations for more specific information.
Monday, April 08, 2013
|What's my Name?!?|
The Minnesota Steelheader Creel Project is a non-scientific poll of catch information similar to what is provided in the Official MNDNR creel reports.
Your part is very simple- When you fish in 2013, simply record the following information:
Species & Number Caught: Kamloops, Steelhead or Brook Trout
The Region Where You Caught the Fish: Lower, Mid or Upper Shore. It is critical that you get the location correct. MS is not interested in the specific streams, simply the region, so please use this format:
Lower Shore Region - All Tributaries from Mission Creek to Knife River
Mid Shore Region - All Tributaries from Stewart River to Baptism River
Upper Shore Region - All Tributaries from Little Marais River to Pigeon River including those on the Reservation.
The Date the Fish Were Caught: Well, the date....
That's it! Species, Region and Date, how simple is that? There is one other important ground rule.
Please make sure that you only report steelhead, kamloops and brook trout numbers once. If you fished with a group, put your heads together and pick one person to report the TOTAL numbers, OR, only report fish you PERSONALLY caught. This helps prevent duplication in catch data.
Example - If you and your partner caught a total of two steelhead on April 24th, please do not both report back that you caught two steelhead, otherwise it will look like four steelhead were caught that day and it will skew the numbers.
You can send your information to: firstname.lastname@example.org
And the inevitable question, "What's in it for me"? MS is still trying to decide on what kind of Cracker Jack prize you'll get, but it will be something better than a temporary tattoo and related to steelheading.
The best part is the information which ultimately comes out provides us all with an increasingly better picture of steelhead fishing on the North Shore. MS publishes the information for you to think about and use whether you are brand new to the sport, or a veteran of 40 seasons. It's good stuff.
Last item is that we could really use more data on the Upper Shore, particularly late-season; so if you head up that way and have some success, please keep us in mind. You'll be helping everyone out if you do.
Sunday, April 07, 2013
Hmmmm... wonder what the picture looks like for some other bucks I've been thinking about lately?
Information sources for steelheaders come in many forms, and MODIS imagery is just one. While there's still pack ice out there floating around, there are definate areas of brownup occurring in the St. Louis River estuary. We should soon be seeing the telltale plumes of brown blooming out into the lake which signal the steelhead that it is time to come home. You can check the imagery yourself HERE.
In the meantime, all we can do is watch and wait. There is one disappointing thing about 2013 that is going to drive me nuts. While I have lots of data sources available for the Mid and Upper Shore, the Lower Shore is going to be a bit of an enigma. If you're not aware, the floods in 2012 knocked out the Sucker gauge along with the Knife trap, and the budget woes of 2013 have knocked out the Knife gauge. This means we're all going to be a little bit blind as to current conditions, but we at Minnesota Steelheader will do our best to fill in the gaps.
Guess I'm just going to have to go fishing more often; oh darn, what a dilemma...
A couple of our scouts have reported that some tributaries have just started to flow but are still mainly ice and not ready to fish. Anglers are still out around river mouths fishing the big lake for Kamloops and occasionally catching steelhead.
Stay tuned as the reports here will be more detailed in the future. We never give up fishing holes but will will tell you what regions are hot and which are not. We will also let you know how many fish are being reported to the DNR creel survey staff. These guys work hard to gather valuable data that helps you catch fish. Be nice to them.
The river regions we specify in reports are divided into 3 areas: Lower, Middle and Upper shore, all regions are illustrated on our website, take a look to get familiar. We even have links to maps you can print out or pick up from the DNR. We invite all of you to give back a bit and share your own reports in our "comment" section of each of the posts. See you on the water soon!
Saturday, April 06, 2013
Hi, I’m Stella Headriver. I was born and raised in a small town along the shores of Lake Superior in Minnesota. I consider myself down to earth. I like to stay active and love the outdoors and nature. Like, I can’t imagine living in a place without 4 seasons. Winters are long and hard for me (especially this one) but I love Spring. I’m shy at first but when things get warmed up I’m ready to flow. I’m outgoing and love traveling down to my favorite watering hole with friends. The Spring makes me feel so alive and full of life. Do you like Spring?
I think my perfect match is someone who can appreciate my beauty on the inside and out. If you can weather through my ups and downs and tell me I did it gracefully that would get you lots of brownie points. A perfect date for me would be to spend the morning together and end the night around the campfire with a few drinks. Don’t tell anyone I told you this, but I tend to get dirty after a few drinks, which you might like, but I’ve been known to have a few too many if conditions are right. When that happens things get real dirty and too out of control for most, luckily those episodes are usually predictable and short-lived. Well, except for last Summer, now that’s a dirty story. Sorry, I got distracted. I’m not looking for a guy who just wants to hook up, I’m looking for more than that, so don’t expect me to give it up on the first date. If you put in the time to get to know me, learn how to read me, I’ll slowly open up a whole new world to you and I promise it will be worth your time. So, like, if you’re interested Like me on Facebook and maybe we can get together and see where this takes us. K-Bye.
Friday, April 05, 2013
Let’s be honest, no matter how many times we happen to out play the Tigers, this sport is better than baseball season. Let’s go sun, burn one down; for us. We're dying here. Thankfully, we know Steelheading is a struggle, but when our time comes, we'll be ready. Get out there, hang on and have faith.
Thursday, April 04, 2013
It's hard to know if you don't know, you know?
Thankfully, it’s easy to know.
Go and ask the fly shop. Ask the bait shop. Ask the gas station. Ask the fisherman on the river. Ask the fisherman who used to be on the river 20 years ago. Ask the fisherman who's been on the river 20 years. Ask the fisherman who has kids. Ask the fisherman who’s with their Dad. Ask the fisherman who lost their Dad. Ask the fisherman with her daughter. Ask the fisherman with her nephew. Ask the fisherman with her niece. Ask the fisherman with her mother. Ask the fisherman who lost her Mother. Ask the fisherman that doesn’t know they’re a fisherman yet. Just ask. If there is a story to be told, there will be a story to be told.
Get out there, hang on and ask.